Thursday, June 12, 2003

Kit Bags

I have been using a new general purpose tote-all-your-gear-around bag for a month now and it is turning out to be rather good. The bag is made by Billingham, a small English firm. It is primarily designed for camera equipment, and close inspection of the TV footage would reveal many press photographers carrying Billingham bags around Iraq in the last 9 months.

Billingham bags are made of waterproofed canvass and leather. They are designed to take a beating and grow old with grace. The model I have, the Hadley Original, is incredibly versatile. It has one main storage section which comes with loads of adjustable padding. If you take out all the internal dividers, it will take a smallish laptop, say an iBook, and give it 6-way protection from imapct. But the padding is really an inner liner which can be removed, and when it is removed, the main section confortably fits over 500 pages of A4 paper. As well as this, there are two front pockets, which are size adjustable and have their own covering flaps. I can fit my Palm, phone and wallet in a single one of these without increasing the size at all. The whole thing is closed by leather straps with brass buckles, and there is a quick release system for easy access.

Tip for UK readers: these bags cost about �90 from Billingham or Jessops, but I found that some branches of Dixons sell them for �62. That is a real bargain.